Holidays are a time for staying cozy by a warm fire, decorating with lights, and spending time in the company of family and friends. While it’s nice to enjoy these things, take steps to stay safe from fire this holiday season. Electrical issues and dry trees contribute to house fires every year. Here are a few tips on fire safety for the holidays.
Make Sure Your Lights are in Good Condition
Your lights were probably stored in your garage, attic, or basement over the past year. They may have been exposed to moisture or pests that chewed on the wires. Examine your lights before hanging them to verify they aren’t damaged in any way. Look for broken and burnt out bulbs and replace them, and keep an eye out for exposed wiring.
Don’t Overload Electrical Outlets
Holiday lights require a lot of electricity. If your outlets cannot handle it, you might trip a breaker or cause a fire. Typically speaking, an average home’s circuit can hold about 70 strings of lights. However, there are other electrical appliances plugged into your outlets as well. If the circuit breaker flips, reassess how you’re using your holiday lights.
Fire Safety for the Holidays Includes Testing Smoke Detectors
Make sure you have smoke detectors on every floor of your home and outside of every bedroom. Test the batteries at least monthly and replace them twice a year. Smoke detectors are important because they provide an early warning in case of danger.
Don’t Leave Flames Unattended
Your family may enjoy lighting candles as part of the holiday festivities. You might build a fire in the fireplace on a chilly evening. However, be careful to completely extinguish the flames when you leave the room or go to sleep for the night. For safer decorating, use electric candles. They won’t start a fire if they’re tipped over and you can reuse them every year.
Don’t Smoke Indoors to Practice Fire Safety for the Holidays
Create a space outdoors for any cigarette smokers and don’t allow smoking indoors. Cigarette smoke negatively impacts indoor air quality and causes a safety hazard. Ashes can cause burns and an improperly extinguished cigarette may start a fire.
Fire Safety for the Holidays Should Include Your Tree
If your family decorates a tree every year, take care to keep it safe. Dry needles combined with hot holiday lights create a dangerous situation in the home. When choosing a tree, look for a fresh one with bright green needles. Set your tree up in an area away from any heat source, including space heaters and the fireplace. When decorating a tree, choose lights that are made for indoor use. Outdoor lights may get too hot to use safely indoors.